Rebecca at the Rotorua Daily Post newspaper has recently written a story about extremely dangerous tyres that are so bad that they have compelled Taupo tyreshops to ask for police intervention and literally stunned Taupo Police. The police have responded by appealing to the public to check their tyres before long journeys, check their tyres regularly and immediately replace defective tyres.
The Campaign for Better tyres thinks all of this is great, albeit overwhelmingly naïve. Previously New Zealand had 6 monthly Warrant of Fitness inspections which ensured that safety issues were caught before they got out of control; but the new regime of yearly and 3 yearly WOF inspections ensures that bad situations with tyres have time to get immensely dangerous. Yes, motorists are responsible for their vehicles safety and to maintain them in a WOF compliant state at all times; but expecting this of everyone betrays an ignorance of life’s realities.
Consumers have many demands on their finances and many folks are on a tight budget where needs for vehicle maintenance are inevitably traded off against rates demands, rent, school fees and food etc. Many vehicles do not have a 6 monthly professional service where tyre faults could be identified and many motorists do not have the knowledge or facilities to check tyres thoroughly. The gold standard for checking tyres safety is to raise a vehicle on a hoist so you can stand under it and slowly rotate the tyres while inspecting them with a high powered light; that is how you find cuts, chips, tread seperation, punctures, wheel alignment damage and if a tyre is “out of round”. It also facilitates an accurate measurement of tread depth over the entire tyre.
Sure, you can look at the tyres when the vehicle is on the ground and get a general idea of tyre condition, but to do this properly one has to lie on the ground so you can see the inside edge of the tyres where wheel alignment damage often occurs. But even if you do this, which is physically impossible for many people, you still will not sight most cuts/slits, uneven wear and issues with tread separation.
The Campaign for Better Tyres raised concerns about reduced WOF frequency and the subsequent decline in tyre safety back on 22-04-2013 http://tyresales.co.nz/2013/04/22/new-wof-test-rule-dangers/ and it seems all of our concerns have come to fruition. Every day tyre shops are confronted with dangerous tyres that motorists unaware of: some of them even decline to replace their dangerous tyres because their WOF is still current.
There are three possible solutions to this situation, the naïve option being to educate the public on tyre safety, conduct aggressive road side wof checks with punitive fines or reinstitute 6 monthly WOF checks which will actually help motorists by the timely identification of vehicle faults and establish parameters for the timely rectification of such faults. The Campaign for Better Tyres is firmly of the opinion that 6 monthly Warrant of Fitness checks should be reintroduced as soon as possible.